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Lisa Ortiz-Vilarelle named first Latina from TCNJ to win Fulbright award

The U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board has announced that TCNJ English Professor Lisa Ortiz-Vilarelle has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to Canada for research on social justice advocacy and academic career narratives.

Ortiz-Vilarelle is the first Latina and first faculty member from TCNJ’s English department to be awarded a Fulbright.

“This realization has both humbled and honored me and I’m thrilled to join the roster of Fulbright grantees during its distinguished 75-year history,” she said. “I hope that my participation inspires other women of color to continue seeking out academic and cultural collaborations around the globe.”

Ortiz-Vilarelle will conduct research at the University of Alberta as part of a project to research functional forms of autobiography in North American academic careers. Her residency in Alberta will focus on access, freedom, inclusion, and cultural affiliation relative to acts of testimony and witness in the post-Truth and Reconciliation era. In her work with the University of Alberta’s “Signature Area in the Faculty of Arts,” Ortiz-Vilarelle will study the potential of academic narratives that document career experiences to engage in effective social justice work for equity and diversity in academia.

“After a visiting faculty residency in January 2020, I initiated collaborations with fellows of the Edmonton Arts Council, local editors and book publishers, such as Latina-owned Laberinto Press, and indigenous studies scholars and institutional programs focusing on storytelling for social change in North America,” Ortiz-Vilarelle said. “My efforts in Alberta will continue this work and further connect it to my research on the life narratives that academics construct about their life’s work — the intersection of their personhood and their intellectual and social justice undertakings.”

As a Fulbright Scholar, Ortiz-Vilarelle will share knowledge and foster meaningful connections across communities in the United States and Canada. Fulbrighters engage in cutting-edge research and expand their professional networks, often continuing research collaborations started abroad and laying the groundwork for forging future partnerships between institutions. Fulbright alumni include 60 Nobel Prize laureates, 88 Pulitzer Prize recipients, and 39 who have served as a head of state or government.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program and is supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world. 


—  Luke Sacks

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